James Hong, who recently sold rating-and-dating site HotOrNot, has announced his engagement to girlfriend Julia Zhang. I wondered if he'd dropped down on one knee at Max Levchin's wedding over the weekend, where he served as best man, but Hong tells me he popped the question a few weeks ago. Hong also celebrated his 35th birthday earlier this week. I guess this settles the question, James: Definitely hot.
Slide founder Max Levchin made longtime lover Nellie Minkova an honest woman on Saturday. The ceremony was held at San Francisco's St. Regis Hotel, and featured HotOrNot cofounder James Hong as best man, with fellow PayPal mafioso Peter Thiel another groomsman. Gracious enough for the couple to refuse gifts besides books and wine, considering how many zeros Levchin can count toward his (and now their) wealth. However, rather ironic that the bride and groom asked guests not to upload any pictures from the ceremonies online for "privacy" reasons.Levchin's Slide promotes the practice of sharing every precious and not-so-precious moment with the world at large, and that his company has massive amounts of Facebook user data at its disposal thanks to the popularity of the company's Facebook applications. Yes, the rich are different than you and I: They don't buy into the crap they sell us.
Most sex tape rumors involving Britney Spears are either too good to be true (Colin Farrell!) or too gross to convince us to want to see them at all (K. Fed). But the latest story from the tabloids is filled with details so plausible (especially considering the then-manic Package's mental state) that we're not so sure it's just another fairy tale. As the National Enquirer is reporting (again, don't judge a supermarket tab's creds by its cheap cover):
Founders James Hong and Jim Young sold HotorNot earlier this week, but so far, it's business as usual for the operation. Meaning, the site remains a very effective means of getting a date. Check out Daniya here. She's completely smitten with our secret correspondent and man of mystery, Tips. Sadly for Daniya, Tips prefers a different kind of "dating" site.
Divulging your corporation's proprietary information on your blog is generally a no-no, and now the bastards say you can't even hold a good virtual wet t-shirt contest starring your fellow employees. Prominent law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (phew) has heartily chastised two employees for an "inappropriate" poll on their blog Skadden Insider, rating the hottest female Skadden lawyer. Apparently it didn't jibe with Skadden's "values and standards of behavior." Luckily we are without such encumbrances, so after the jump, take our own informal poll of the steamiest female attorneys at Skadden. Naturally, the least-clad lady won the Skadden poll, but that might have been cheating. You be the judge and later today we'll see if Gawker readers have the same taste in women as do pent up white-show law associates.
CNBC and the New York Times have decided to share material on their respective websites in a move to try to stave off competition from Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal and recently-launched massively-failing Fox Business News. Basically, CNBC (a General Electric company) gets Times articles that will show up on CNBC.com while the Times gets CNBC videos. We're not so sure if having Jim Cramer screaming at you from the bottom of NYtimes.com is going to boost anything other than annoyance. They should take a page from Murdoch's own playbook and only have hot staffers in front of the camera. . That means a lot more Melena "Urban Eye" Ryzik and David "Dork Hot" Pogue and much much less of David "Scary" Carr and A.O. "Suburban Dad" Scott.
Liberation is running a poll about who is the hottest male newscaster on Web3. Because nouns are gendered in French (which I speak fluently! Paw grand shows) the gays are mad because the poll is only for les lectrices (female readers.) Maybe they're also mad because none of these dudes are really good looking at all. Except the dude on the left who kind of looks like Pavement bassist Mark Ibold who is handsome. [Liberation]
The premise behind Facebook's Social Ads is the notion that users of the social network will declare their brand loyalty on the site, and thereby opt into targeted ads from some of their favorite corporations. Starbucks, despite a recent dip in store visits after a price hike, serves 44 million customers a week. So you'd think a few of those customers might have admitted to being fans of Facebook, right? Wrong. Facebook's Starbucks product page has all of 59 fans. I think there were that many people in my local Starbucks the last time I bought a latte.
New voting site Dig a Silicon Valley Girl has reached the pinnacle of loser-generated content. It makes the implicit explicit — the sex-starved id of the male-dominated Valley made tangible in a thoroughly useless, if entertainingly revealing site. DSVG recycles the social voting of Digg, mixes it with rating site HotorNot, and, we're sad to say, mixes in a thorough helping of Valleywag's archives, minus the social critique. Now lonely geeks can vote for their juvenile obsessions in public, rather than leaving juvenile comments across the Web, tittering in whispers at the next Web 2.0 event, or entertaining themselves singlehandedly to tech-news podcasts. There's only one higher purpose this site can serve: Becoming the destination for all the frustrated prepubescents who clog up the comments of sites trying to cover significant, breaking news ... like the wardrobes of videobloggers, for example.
HotorNot.com, the online dating and rating site run by Jim Young and James Hong, is abandoning its experiment in free, ad-supported user profiles and is reverting back to paid memberships. Is this a sign of failure? According to an email from Young and Hong to past and current members, no. Free profiles led to a flood of spammers that were overloading the website — an outcome that members had predicted at the time. Plausible. And yet plenty of other sites offer free profiles while keeping spammers at least somewhat in check. Could this actually be a tacit acknowledgement that all the assumptions that cofounder Hong made in a blog post announcing the move to make HotorNot free three months ago were, well, wrong? That online advertising is not, in fact, HotorNot's future? The full email after the jump.
James Hong, founder of the popular rating/dating service Hot or Not blogs about the future of his company's strategy and products. The short version: social bookmarking, Hot. Subscription dating: Not. It's difficult to question the success Hot or Not has brought James Hong (and his partner Jim) — reportedly "multi millions of profits per year" — but it's much easier to ask: did Jim and James exploit a fad at the right time, and now are playing catch up to the newest fad? The lengthy explanation of how the improved market data and directed advertising of a social network is a business (No way!) and that users like social applications (Get out!) suggest so. Transforming a successful business is Hot; mimicking every other business is Not.
Perhaps feeling left out of the New Yorker book party at Chinatown Brasserie, a number of "small" Brooklyn publishers hosted a party in DUMBO at the Powerhouse Arena this weekend. Word on the street was that this would be the hottest party of the whole Book Expo. There were nearly 800 people there, but we didn't want to talk to any of them; all we wanted to do was silently judge. Actually, all we really wanted to do is have YOU, dear reader, silently judge. With that in mind, Joshua David Stein and Nikola Tamindzic combed the party for the most attractive literazis so as to give you the chance to vote on who is the hottest fey boy and liberated female. Books you shouldn't judge by their cover—people who go to book parties, on the other hand? Fair game. If these thumbnails that follow don't provide enough detail, visit our gallery for larger and more revealing portraits.
Sure, Microsoft Research's spot-the-kitty game is a cute way to make people prove they're not bots (instead of making them read a twisted jumble of letters). But it's no match for the delightfully cruel Hot Captcha: Look at nine people, and pick the three hot ones. Hot Captcha works by grabbing photos from the classic site Hot or Not that are rated very hot or very, um, not. So forget all you learned from Dove's Real Beauty Campaign and click on someone pretty. — NICK DOUGLAS